Z’s Zero-G Spacecake

Last week, the Coilhouse crew and extended family – Courtney, Mer, Mildred, Stephanie Inagaki and Andy Ristaino – got together with Zo on the roof of the Standard Hotel in LA after Mer and Zo had joined forces to prepare a particularly juicy Coilhouse blog feature that will be revealed at a later date. I couldn’t be there, but the picture from that night filled me with joy. Next month it’ll be three years since we all started working together, and to me, the photo speaks volumes regarding how much we’ve grown together, and all the changes we’ve been through. This is especially true in Zo’s case. An epic wedding, a house move, and a full transition into a freelance career – that’s a lot for anyone to handle, but our co-editor makes it look effortless. So in lieu of being able to wish her a happy birthday in person, I present Zo with the cake above (with a little bit of help from R. Stevens). You are a vital, talented, creative force of nature, and the world is more strangely beautiful with you in it. We luff yoooooo!

Cuddle puddle: Courtney, Zo, Mer and original fourth co-editor Mildred Von.

\m/ Slayer Grandma \m/

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Via Dusty, natch.

We gotta get this biddie, the feisty abuela from that “Will You Go To Prom With Me” video, those fire-building headbangers and DOOMCOCK to form a metal band. How brutal would that be? 8-Bit Slayer can open for them in this backyard. Refreshments provided by the Black Oven.

Vintage Jantzen: The Pin-Up Powerhouse

So… any Mad Men fans in the ‘haus? No spoilers in the comments, please, because I’m not sure if Mer and Zo have had a chance to catch last Sunday’s Season 4 premiere. But without giving away any plot points, I just want to ask: what was up with Don Draper pulling a Dov Charney with his horrible Jantzen pitch? Our colleague Copyranter eats this kind of American Apparel shit for breakfast. The Portland-based swimwear company was portrayed as a stodgy, conservative business to whom Draper declares angrily, “you’re too scared of the skin your two-piece was designed to show off.” I guess he (and/or the show’s writers) never saw Jantzen’s Vargas-inspired campaign, which ran in LIFE in 1947 (below). Dear readers, I proudly tag this post “Stroke Material” and present you with my stash of vintage Jantzen advertisements from the 30s, 40s, 50s and 60s. Sun-kissed beauties with Bettie Page smiles and space-age swimsuits – as well as a few clever parodies – after the jump.

Deep Rivers Run Quiet: Ryan Francesconi’s “Parables”

Photo by Ben Corrigan.

Ryan Francesconi‘s wonderful music has been lilting around the edges of my life since 1995 when I briefly worked together with him and Dan Cantrell in the Toids, an experimental folk group that riffed off various Eastern European idioms in tandem with Francesconi and Cantrell’s eclectic compositional styles. Back then, Francesconi was one seriously intimidating guitar/tambura/bouzouki shredder! He reveled in playing faster, smarter, better than anybody. He’s a shredder still, and no one can approximate his style… but over the years, wisdom seems to have smoothed over some of the sharper, more Malmsteinish edges of his virtuosity. Lately, the music he makes has deepened into an expression of something more present, and pure.

Nowhere is this more apparent than on a quietly stunning record Francesconi released earlier this year, called Parables. A series of songs for solo acoustic guitar, it reflects his interest in American bluegrass, Bulgarian folk, jazz improvisation and Baroque lute music. Recorded live (no overdubs!), the music is graceful and green with nods of kinship to everyone and everything from Nick Drake to Herman Hesse to the forests of the Pacific Northwest– which is where Francesconi lives when he’s not trotting the globe.

Speaking of– if you’re a fan of Joanna Newsom, the name Ryan Francesconi is probably already familiar to you, since he’s been one of her key players for several years, leading her live touring performers in the Ys Street Band and arranging/playing on just about every song on her new triple album, Have One On Me. They’re kicking off their summer West Coast tour of the States tonight in San Diego, California. Newsom had this to say about Parables:

“Ryan Francesconi is one of the most awe-inspiring musicians I’ve known. On “Parables,” he distills his many realms of artistry […] into a beautifully minimalist, poetic, intricate, emotionally realized study of themes, variations, organic counterpoint, and such devastating forays into fractal-metric out-lands that it is nearly impossible to believe he’s picking those strings with just one hand. This is solo music that sounds like an ensemble, an ecstatic and measured reconciliation of West African / Balkan / Baroque / bluegrass influences, which ultimately resembles nothing I know.”

Pick up Parables on vinyl over at Drag City (they’re currently sold out of the CD), or in Mp3 format from CD Baby or iTunes.

Nick Cave Rewrites The Crow, Cillian Murphy to Star?

Nick Cave’s participation in the remake of the new Crow has been confirmed, and I’m finally starting to get excited. The Crow, a film based on James O’Barr’s eponymous comic book series, was a sort of holy grail to me and my darque little crew back in the early nineties. Unapologetically dramatic, The Crow had everything an angsty kid could want:  love, destruction, hot bloke in makeup, great villains, pretty girls. There was one year when I watched the film at least five times.

Now, I haven’t actually seen it in over ten years, for fear that it won’t hold up. I’m told it doesn’t. Still, the concept of a shiny new remake of my childhood/adolescence favorite is an uncomfortable one. Nostalgia and Brandon Lee’s death on the set veil The Crow in shimmery, inviolate mystery, and, had it been anyone other than Nick The Stripper doing the re-write, I would have probably shunned it. As things stand though, I think there’s reason to get at least a little fired up, especially with new rumors of Cillian Murphy possibly signing on to play Eric – almost as weird as casting Brandon Lee! If only Stephen Norrington could be replaced… Yes, then I can almost picture it. Until we know more, let us remember The Crow that once was. I leave you with a question: who would you cast as the ideal Eric?

The Crow is available on YouTube in its entirety.

Igor Oleynikov

A patchwork biography of Igor Oleynikov: Growing up in Lubertsy, Russia — a small town outside of Moscow — his entrance into the art world was at the Russian animation studio Soyuzmultfilm in 1979. Since 1986 he has been illustrating children’s books and has done 25 to date.

Children’s book illustration is a lot like veterinary school — the common misconception being that medical school has a much higher barrier of entry, and yet the opposite is true. Children’s book illustration is a notoriously difficult nut to crack.

Oleynikov’s work is testament to the talent involved in the field. His paintings are lush and yet his tones are muted just enough to give everything a dream-like quality. In addition, they possess that air of danger and foreboding so often found in literature for young readers. Really, I could look at these all day. See more after the jump and even more here, here, and here.

Benefit Ebay Auction: FULL SET OF COILHOUSE 01-05!


We know there’s a lot of demand for all of the out-of-print issues of Coilhouse Magazine. Unfortunately, there’s just no way we can financially swing reprinting 01-04 at this point in time. We are looking into revamping past issues for various e-reader formats –which, obviously, we know isn’t quite the same– but it’s something. If anybody would like to give us some constructive feedback regarding that idea or other viable alternatives to make our previous editions available, please give ’em here in comments.

Meanwhile, some of you may be interested to know that I’ve just put a full run of Coilhouse Magazine 01-05  up for auction on Ebay –donated from my own limited personal stash– to help out a cherished friend with mounting medical bills. Her name’s Whitney Moses; I met her several years ago via our mutual chum Amanda Palmer. Over the years, Whittles’ given me tons of links to cool/kooky/brilliant stuff that often becomes instant Coilhouse blog fodder. She’s a healer, a mover, a shaker and a peach. I love her very much.

Two months back, a freak trampoline accident left Whit’s knee in shreds. She’s had to have a fuckton of intensive, expensive surgery. And, wouldn’t ya know, right now she’s without insurance, despite working long hours at a local hospital, and making the bulk of her bread as a licensed massage therapist. ARGH. Sarah Dopp (who you may remember me gushing about), and who had this to say about our dear Whitney, explains why our community is working overtime on her behalf:

It’s true she’s probably facing $30,000 in medical bills and 6 months worth of lost wages, but there are also hundreds (maybe thousands) of people who are committed to helping her out.  The crowds are already organizing a central calendar to plan visits, transportation, and meals for her, and schemes for several fundraisers are already in the works.

She doesn’t have that kind of safety net because she’s a nice person. She has that safety net because she has spent her entire life listening to and supporting the people around her, pursuing her dreams as honestly as possible, and including as many people as she can in them.

Photo by Tanya Anguita

So please check out my Coilhouse auction listing. Bid knowing that all proceeds will go toward helping a truly exemplary and luminous young woman to get back on her feet, literally and financially. Also! Be apprised that there are two big fund raising parties for Whitney happening in Oakland– one tomorrow night (July 29th) and another on September 12th.  The organizers understand that lots of Whitney’s supporters are out of town, or otherwise can’t make it to either show, so they’ve put together an e-raffle as well. Prizes include signed books and collectibles from Neil Gaiman, handmade hair flowers, one-of-a-kind paintings, matted limited edition photographs, unique jewelry and accessories, and much more. Purchase e-raffle tickets here via GiveForward for $5 each. The winners will be selected tomorrow in a separate drawing, and prizes mailed out.

Best of luck to Whittles, best of luck to all who bid on the auction, and thanks as always for reading.

Anything You Synthesize

From the production company, Onesize:

Inspired by the music we had the idea of making a decaying world. One single camera movement from left to right, showing a landscape, looping 9 times. Day becomes night and even the seasons go by. After we finished the production, we decided to reverse the whole video. This gives you a seemingly happy end, but you know what’s going to happen. There are no lyrics and we did not pay attention to the title of the song, we just felt this was the right thing to do.

A beautiful video from circa 2008, a lifetime ago on the internet. The song is from the album A Memory Stream which can be purchased here, among other places.

Via Ticklebooth


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Felix Meyer and Pascal Monaco present 35mm, an animated short featuring minimalist representations of 35 films in 2 minutes. Think of it as an animated film quiz to perk up your afternoon.


Support the LifeSize Mousetrap!

The Lifesize Mousetrap is exactly what it sounds like: an astoundingly cool, “big kid” version of the classic board game. Created by Mark Perez, constructed from leftover metal/nuts/bolts/spare wood over the course of thirteen years, and operated and maintained by a small, scrappy collective of bay-area based engineers, artists and performers, it’s “a colorful assemblage of kinetic sculptures fantastically handcrafted into a giant, 25 TON Rube Goldberg machine.”

The mechanical spectacle is enhanced by a vaudevillian style road show featuring tap-dancing mouse women, live music, and several dapper “clown engineers” who endeavor to “achieve a chain reaction using Newtonian physics and bowling balls! The action culminates with the spectacular dropping of a 2 TON bank safe from a 30-foot crane.”

This 50,000 pound contraption and its stage show must be seen to be believed. Preferably in person, not on a computer screen– which is why they need our help getting to Maker Faire Detroit and Maker Faire World in New York City. They’ve setup a Kickstarter project to help raise funds for the labor-intensive, rather expensive cross-country trip. There are 10 days left on the clock, and they’ve still got a ways to go before they reach their goal of $6,600 — a buck for every mile they travel.  If you’re inspired by small, indie, gloriously strange community art and outreach, here’s a chance to express it. You guys know how this works: a buck here, a fiver there, and spread the word. It adds up so quickly.

Best of luck, you guys!